Privacy group Liberty has already hit its £10,000 crowdfunding campaign for a legal challenge against the Snoopers' Charter and the "sweeping state spying powers" that it enables. The move comes after Europe's top court ruled late last year that vast tracts of the law are illegal.
The Snoopers' Charter, formally known as the Investigatory Powers Bill (IP Bill), was passed by parliament last year and gained royal assent in November, legalising a number of secret service activities that were ruled unlawful only in October.
The law will require internet and phone companies to store comprehensive records of websites visited and phone numbers called for 12 months, and to enable police, security services and multiple other public sector bodies to access those records on demand.
It will also provide the security services with the legal power to bulk collect personal communications data, and give police and security services the explicit power to hack into, and bug, computers and smartphones. These powers will largely require only the approval of the home secretary.
Liberty, which last year pledged that it was "gearing up" for a fight, has revealed that it's looking to raise £10,000 on crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice in order to seek a High Court judicial review of the core bulk powers in the IP Bill, which it slammed as "an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom."
"Over 200,000 people signed a petition to stop the Snoopers' Charter. The Government didn't listen, so we're taking them to court and we need your help," Liberty says on the crowd funding page.
This move comes just weeks after a landmark ruling from the EU Court of Justice rendered core parts of the IP Bill effectively unlawful.
Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty, said: "Last year, this government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act's repeal because they see it for what it is - an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom.
"We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cyber security of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we reclaim our rights."
Liberty isn't the only group to be vocal about its opposition to the Snoopers' Charter.
Renate Samson, chief executive of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: "Encryption keeps us safe online. This bill weakens that," he said. "When a company has more than 10,000 users, the [British government] can ask them to build capacity to see what people are doing on there.
"Long term, with crime increasingly happening online, and cyber crime becoming more of an issue, the ability of any law to create vulnerability in the online world actually keeps us less safe."
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